The Humanities Scholars Program fosters independent, interdisciplinary undergraduate research in the humanities, and provides a supportive community, through a series of curated courses, structured mentorship, special programming, and research opportunities and funding.
Now in its pilot year, the Humanities Scholars Program will soon be accepting applications from current sophomores. Faculty director Durba Ghosh will lead the inaugural cohort of juniors in Fall 2020.
Accepted students must declare a major, or a minor, in the humanities; take a minimum of five approved courses as described below; produce an honors thesis or capstone project (which could be in their major outside the humanities); and present at the annual Humanities Scholar Conference. Students who fulfill program requirements will receive a certificate to recognize them as a College of Arts & Sciences Humanities Scholar.
- Gateway seminar: Humanities Scholars must take SHUM 2750 Introduction to Humanities, which is offered each year/semester on a rotating theme. Students may, but are not required to, complete the gateway seminar during their freshmen or sophomore years in preparation for applying to the program.
- Mid-level seminars: Humanities Scholars must complete their choice of two courses designated as mid-level seminars. Mid-level seminars help students discover research material unique to Cornell, work with research librarians and collection specialists, and cultivate research and oral presentation skills. Visit this page for a list of mid-level seminars offered in Fall 2020.
- Capstone project:
- Humanities Scholars must take SHUM 3750 Humanities Research Methods before or during the semester they complete their capstone projects.
- Additionally, students must enroll in SHUM 4750 while completing their capstone project. SHUM 4750 provides a structured setting for independent work, peer feedback, and faculty mentorship.
- Finally, Humanities Scholars must present their project at the annual Humanities Scholars Conference in May.
Along the way, Humanities Scholars Program will regularly host:
- Brown bag lunch workshops featuring faculty presenting their work in progress
- Coffee and study hours
- Peer-to-peer feedback structures
- Additional faculty and post-doctoral mentoring of research projects
- Workshops for career development inside and outside humanities
- Competitions for summer research and internships – media, non-profits, journalism, presses, etc.
Student Research and Internship Funding
The Humanities Scholars Program will offer competitive funding for undergraduate research projects, as well as summer stipends to support HSP participants who wish to complete unpaid summer internships in the humanities. More details about these funding competitions open to HSP participants will be available in the 2020-21 academic year.
How to Apply (Undergraduates)
Eligible students are Cornell undergraduate students who declare a major or minor in the humanities. Students do not need to be in Arts & Sciences; we welcome students with humanities minors from all colleges. Students should be in their sophomore year at the time of application (or have two years of study left to complete the program).
The Humanities Scholars Program will begin accepting applications at the start of the Spring 2020 semester with an application deadline of March 3, 2020.
To apply, students will need to submit the following:
- Unofficial transcript
- A short essay (700 words maximum) in response to one of the following prompts:
- Choose a historical moment or artwork (novel, film, poem, play, painting, installation, comic, etc.) and explain why it stuck with you and/or why it is important for you.
- Pick a big problem (climate change, artificial intelligence, migration, democracy and media, etc.) and explain why you think it requires humanistic research and responses.
Instructions for application submission will be available soon. Decisions will be announced before Spring Break.
Call for Postdoctoral Fellows
The Humanities Scholars Program invites applications from Cornell PhD candidates for one-year postdoctoral fellowship positions beginning August 1, 2020. The fellowship offers a stipend of $58,000. Two postdoctoral fellows will be appointed. The application deadline is February 16, 2020.
The Postdoctoral Fellows will be selected based on their research’s promise for cultivating interdisciplinary exchange, nurturing collaboration across academic disciplines, and building upon existing disciplinary contributions to the humanities, broadly conceived. We seek candidates who are eager to develop their skills in undergraduate pedagogy, focusing in particular on guiding and mentoring undergraduates through the process of developing and researching humanistic questions. We anticipate that the Postdoctoral Fellows will teach one course per year. As well, they will organize and support a regular schedule of events such as peer-to-peer workshopping of work-in-progress, workshops in oral presentation skills, careers in humanities, and other professional training, and regular coffee hours, lunches, and informal gatherings with faculty and graduate students.
Applicants eligible for the Humanities Scholars Program Postdoctoral Fellowships for the 2020-21 academic year include scholars holding PhDs from Cornell and Cornell PhD candidates who complete(d) the PhD degree between January 1, 2018 and July 31, 2020. Applicants who do not have the PhD in hand at the time of application must include a letter from the committee chair stating that all degree requirements for the PhD will be completed by July 31, 2020. Candidates with a doctorate or equivalent in any field are eligible, and they may propose research projects in any discipline. International applicants are welcome to apply, contingent upon visa eligibility.
Faculty Director, Humanities Scholars Program
Professor of History
Program Manager, Humanities Scholars Program